Phelps Welcomes CIA-Trained Chef Joe Syngjellari

In the spring, the quality of cafeteria food at Phelps stepped up a notch when Executive Chef Joe Syngjellari came on board. Trained at the renowned Culinary Institute of America and with 15 years’ experience in the restaurant industry, Chef Joe has foregone prepared foods, trading them for fresh ingredients that he obtains from local producers. He has created new cafeteria menus that are changed every six weeks.

Diners in the cafeteria are enjoying a greater variety of delicious food that is freshly made with the sophisticated techniques of a professionally trained chef. Foods made from scratch include pasta, mashed potatoes, hummus and even the pita bread to accompany it. One item Joe added to the patient menu was a particularly big hit: Joe’s Pot Roast. 

Presented here is the recipe for the pot roast along with two other favorites. 

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Joe’s Pot Roast with Gravy
(ten 6-oz. portions)


4 lbs. beef eye round
10 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh parsley
5 bay leaves
10 garlic cloves
garlic powder
salt & pepper
onion powder
6 white onions (roughly chopped)
1 head celery (leaves removed, roughly chopped)
3 large carrots (peeled, sliced on bias)


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Heat a dutch oven on stove over medium high heat. Coat bottom of pan with light olive oil and sear eye round with salt and pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Remove from pan and reserve. In same dutch over, sweat onions, celery and carrots with parsley, thyme and bay leaves until onions are translucent. Place eye round back into roasting pan after vegetables are cooked and fill pan with water ¾ to the top of the meat. Cover and simmer on low heat for 4-5 hours, until meat is tender, and remove from pan. 


Pour liquid from roasting pan into a large sauce pot, blend it with a stick blender, then strain through a fine mesh colander into another pot. Bring it to a slow simmer and whisk in a cornstarch slurry (2oz. cornstarch/2oz. water mixed together until pasty consistency), season with salt and pepper and serve on top of pot roast.

Turkey Chili
(six 8-oz. portions)

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4 lbs. lean ground turkey
2 large white onions (diced small)
1 green bell pepper (diced small)
2 red bell peppers (diced small)
1 cup chili powder
½ gallon chicken stock
garlic powder to taste
salt & pepper to taste 10 oz.
tomato paste


Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Coat the bottom with light olive oil and cook onions and peppers until translucent, then add tomato paste and ground turkey. When turkey is fully cooked, add chili powder, stir until completely dissolved. Add chicken stock, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and garlic. Taste and adjust if necessary.

Miso Glazed Shrimp Stir-Fry 
(eight 8-oz. portions)


4 lbs. peeled & deveined shrimp
3 large carrots (julienne) 
1 lb. snow peas 
2 large red bell peppers
16 oz. water chestnuts
½ lb. sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 quart miso sauce
½ cup minced garlic
vegetable oil as needed
salt & pepper to taste


Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Coat the bottom with light olive oil and cook garlic until translucent. Add vegetables and cook until tender, then add shrimp and stir until fully cooked. Add miso sauce, season with salt and pepper, taste and adjust. Serve immediately.

Our Wine & Food Festival returns June 4-9!

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